Sunday, November 27, 2011

If, by Rudyard Kipling

One of my favorites:

If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or, being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run - Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son

Cycling With A Side Of Crossfit

There's something sweet about the tenderness of muscles when they see their first day back to a workout.

Last week on Gobble Gobble Eve, I made my return to the box after a six week hiatus.  My greatest fear was not being able to do a pull-up, but fortunately for me I have not lost my ability to kip. 

Fast forward to the middle of the WOD and that blessing was dust in the wind...I was angry at my body for not retaining the benefits of the past year and resorted to laughing at myself after each pitiful set of push-ups, pull-ups and squats.

Of course, the best thing about Crossfit is the people you workout with...and I was very thankful to chat with everyone again...I've missed those sick WOD killing mofo's.

First Blood...Back From Hiatus...
When I woke Gobble Gobble morning, before my eyes even opened, it was apparent I was paying for the price of admission to the Gobble Gobble Eve WOD.  I couldn't move.  My legs, arms, back, hands and ears were all screaming!!! 

Inciting a "3, 2, 1 MOVE" chant...I was able to make a pitiful roll off of my bed.  From there I used a strategic shuffle to prepare for the day. 

Now...I'm not sure what my neighbors think about my sometimes akward decents and ascents from my porch...but I was a mess getting down them that morning and for the next three days.  I had absolutely no control over the lower half of my body...

It was hilarious.

That being said, there was no possible way that I was going to pass up the opportunity to ride my bike while we've been having a November heat wave this past weekend.  So, I forced myself to climb up on my bike and spin around to a few destinations.

In the end.  It was a great Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for my family, friends and freedom and I'm looking forward to a great holiday season!  Aaaaand...incidentally, now that Thanksgiving is behind me...there are only 5,009 hours until my 2012 focus race...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last Race, Last Place, Big Ass Smiling Face

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I wouldn't be participating in this years Iceman race. 

Then, by the grace of Miss Beth Brandavin, I had a transfer and was on my way to my third Iceman Cometh.  Last year I moved up from beginner to my age group and things went pretty well for me.  This year, since it was such a late decision and since it's the year I turned thirty.  I decided to go for the main event and roll in the Pro/Cat 1 category (Happy Belated Birthday to ME!).

There were big names coming to town for the ladies.  I'll admit I looked up each and every registered rider in the group, twenty three names to be exact (including but not limited to Catharine Pendrel from Luna Chix, Amanda Carey from Kenda-Felt and Mackenzie Woodring from Priority Health) .  It was very exciting to know that I'd be at the starting line with them and a part of the roll out.

Last weekend was my epic ride from Shelby Twp to Greenville, so most of the week was spent recovering and cleaning Miss Berlin.  Friday morning, I had good luck pancakes with my niece Miss Kaitlyn and my mom before meeting up with my transportation specialist, Chris from the D2 Team (aka one of "The Patterson Boys").

Overall, the weekend passed faster then a fart.  One minute I was trying to coax myself into getting a decent amount of sleep on Friday night, the next I was at Williamsburg road screaming as I saw my east side and west side boys coming down the trail.  Finkel, Rayster, Kroske, The Rodd, The Robb, Ben...

As my start time crept up, I started feeling like stale chips.  Too much time out in the elements, unable to ignore the sleek kits of the Pros as they warmed up.  By the time the call up started for the men, I was all but ready for a nap, I felt like all emotion had been drained from my body.

What can I say about the race portion of my day?  I hammered like crazy to chase after the pack.  I reeled in and was reeled out by a few different riders.  Lungs were heaving, eyes were bleeding...

That's totally me on the right!!!
I knew early on that I was likely to be the one to bring up the rear of the race.  It terrified me to know that I would be coming in to the finish alone.  How awkward to be showing up to the party so late...label it "Call ahead seating"...or "Leave the light on for me".

I can only speculate what it meant to others when I came in to the chutes.  I heard Ben, Chris, Eric and the other counterparts of the D2 team screaming at me.  When I rounded the last corner, I heard my Wolverine friends yelling out my name.  The announcer gave me a shout out.  And I had the worlds largest grin plastered to my face.

There's no medal or check for coming in twentieth place, but there was the worlds most delicious Pumpkin Ale Beer delivered to me by Rayster when I came over the line.

Getting My Beer From Rayster
I finished six minutes faster then my time last year (2 hours and 22 minutes).

Eric of "The Patterson Boys" and I had discussed the many different meanings of racing on the Eve of Iceman.  I still won't admit he's right about our tubeless debate, but I will say he hit the urinal cake about what I will remember about this years Iceman. 

It will go down in the books as the Iceman where I smiled so much my cheeks were sore (Squirrel!).  I hugged so many good friends my arms were sore.  I hammered so hard on the pedals my legs were sore.  And I drank so much...

Well, we'll leave that open ended.

Big thanks to the Patterson and Vanhoose families for all of their help this weekend!  It was great to spend time with you!  Thank you Mr. Finkel for collaborating on the upcoming 12 season...let the training begin!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Epic Ride (Part 2)

And the story continues...

As the last bits of sunlight licked the tree tops, I found myself rolling into the driveway of a white farmhouse, hoping the owners of the house would let me charge my cell phone for a minute so that I could make contact with Chris and the team.

The blinds parted next to the front door and a girl about the same age as myself peeked at me.  She then emerged from the garage and said hello.  I briefly described my predicament and she agreed to letting me plug in my phone for a few minutes.  Since the garage door was open, I suggested that I just plug into an outlet in there, not wanting to make her uncomfortable by coming into the house and she said that would be fine. 

The battery in my phone was so dead that even after plugging it in, I still had to wait a few minutes for there to be enough power to make an outgoing call.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a hold of Chris and had to leave a message.  I gave him the crossroads of my current location and asked him if someone could meet me at the county road which I estimated to be about ten miles from where I currently stood.  That way we would end up meeting in the middle of what was left of my route.  I sent a text message as follow-up in case my voicemail was lost in space and then repacked my bag.

While saying good bye, my new friend gave me a few words of caution about the houses that were on the back roads and suggested I take the road her house stood on up to the main road.  I had thought about that as well, but the guys had a print out of my directions and I didn't want to go off course.  I assured her it would be fine, that I had lights.  She said she thought I was braver then she would be in my current circumstances.

At home, if I were riding the roads by myself, I easily would have allowed myself to get creeped out and would have been turning for home.  Out here, there really wasn't another option.  At best the guys were still at least forty-five minutes away by car and it was too chilly to sit and wait by the side of the road.

I told her with a laugh that she wouldn't be reading about me in the paper and then started turning the cranks towards the now designated meeting place.  The night was now upon me and my headlight shed bright light onto the road in front of me.

As I moved along, I thought to myself that before I knew it I would be at Ben's house laughing with everyone about being stuck out here, just that small rationalization made me feel comforted.  My mileage was now hovering around one hundred and thirty five miles, but my legs felt okay and I was still thinking clearly.  I also remembered that Eric's girlfriend Rachel was with the guys and that she wouldn't let them forget to come find me!

After an hour had passed, I still hadn't found the county road.  I'd followed all of the directions perfectly up until now, but the intersection had evaded me.  I came up on what seemed like a main road and stopped pedaling.  Leaning my bike against the stop sign, I sat down and started rummaging through my bag.  I reminded myself that this was the time not to freak out.  I just needed to eat something and assess the situation.  Overhead the sky was clear and filled with stars, the fields along the road where glistening as frost was starting to form.

After consuming a Luna bar and my last cliff shot block I decided to move forward and try one more intersection before I turned around.  The two houses I passed didn't have any lights on and the next road did not match the name of the one I was looking for...not even close.  I was preparing to turn around when a large, well lit auto shop truck rumbled up the road.  The truck turned down the road in front of me and I decided this would be the person to ask for help. 

I followed his truck to his house like a stray puppy and explained from the driveway my predicament.  I felt composed, but I'm sure I looked a little worse for wear, it had been over fourteen hours on the bike at this point.  He agreed to let me plug in my phone and I quickly disassembled my gear and plugged the charger into an outlet on the porch.

After three rings Eric answered Chris's phone, I've never been happier to hear his voice in my life...

We quickly discussed where I was located and decided to meet at the intersection I had recently departed.  According to Eric, Ben said I had missed the turn for the county road because the name is different on the sign then on my map. 

My second new friend of the evening offered to drive me back up to the corner and after I protested, not wanting to cause him further inconvenience, we loaded my bike onto the flat bed of his truck.  Within ten minutes I was reunited with Chris and Eric.  They quickly loaded my bike onto the roof rack and we filled in the missing details of my route.

In the end, I received a great ride (147 miles) and a little miss adventure.  As with all stories, there are many different paths they can take.  For this story, there was no unhappy ending, but instead the kindness of strangers and friends shone brightly above and beyond anything else.

I am thankful that my friends put up with me and the idea of my epic ride.  Thank you Chris, Eric, Ben and Rachel for getting me home safely.  Thanks to Ben and his dad for allowing me to crash at their house and the late night sodas!  Special thanks to Chris for making arrangements on my behalf for clothes and for dropping me off back at home, most of this adventure wouldn't have been possible without your assistance!

Tired Smile On The Road!

Epic Ride (Part I)

About a week ago I had this great idea for a ride. 

My fabulous friends from D2 Labs Racing (Chris, Eric and Ben) were hosting Michigan's first time based Ultra running race called the "Bad Apple Ultra" (I highly recommend you put this on your race calendar for 2012!).  It became apparent to me as the week pressed on that the only logical thing for me to do on the upcoming weekend was to ride out to the race from my home in Shelby Twp.  Overall the route would entail a total of one hundred and fifty miles of gravel and pavement.

After consulting with Chris about a ride home on his way back from Greenville Sunday, I went in search of a route.  Googlemaps provided me with directions that seemed sufficient and Josh cleared my bike as being fit for the adventure.  I prayed all week for good weather and decided that it was too late to turn back after setting the ball in motion.

Saturday morning I bundled up in my brand new cycling kit compliments of the Active Networks Team VW.  I rolled out of the driveway at seven in the morning and proceeded to travel through Rochester Hills, Lake Orion, Oxford, Ortonville, Grand Blanc and into Owosso.  Every other hour I sent out text messages to let Chris know my progress.

Team VW Cycling Kit!
It was taking a bit longer then I originally anticipated to put the miles behind me and at 2 o'clock it was clear I wouldn't be getting to my final destination before dark.  I had packed a headlight and an extra battery, so I would have a way to see, but my goal had been to arrive by seven o'clock and I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't be able to do so.

In Owosso, I stopped in at a coffee house to grab a quick caffeine boost.  The barrista was extremely accommodating and one of the customers having lunch was actually from Chesterfield Twp...!  We chatted for a few minutes about my trip and they wished me good luck on my adventure!

Great Coffee and Staff!
Between Owosso and St. Johns I saw some storm clouds on the horizon.  It seemed like I would miss them at the pace I was going, but just as I reached the lip of sunny skies the rain came barreling down.  Had it been seventy degrees, a little rain would have been welcomed, but the thermometer was bouncing between thirty and fourty degrees...

I sprinted for the 127 overpass and took cover below it until the worst of the storm had passed.  At this point I was over a hundred miles in and there was still at least fifty miles ahead of me.  It was also at this time that I noticed my cell phone had been draining it's battery.  Soon I would be without the ability to contact Chris, Ben or Eric to let them know my whereabouts. 

I sent Chris another message letting him know my predicament and that I would check in again around 6 o'clock.  Removing the battery from my phone to ensure no additional juice would be sucked from it, I continued on through Fowler and started heading north towards Fenwick road.

The sun set as I navigated the turns that led north and west through sparsely inhabited country side.  The fact that it was Halloween Weekend had not escaped me and eventually I couldn't wait any longer and rolled into the driveway of a white farm house that had a light on, hoping that they would be willing to let me plug in my phone.

To be continued...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Kaitlyn!!!

It is the number 3!  This weekend is my nieces birthday party and birthday!!!

Wishing you a most Happy Birthday Miss Kaitlyn! 

And Out Of No Where, I Give Thanks

I have a great life, family and friends (and a bike I love).

As I've gone through the process of growing up, I've learned that there are certain times when you have to "be a grown-up" and make choices to not buy or do something that you really want to do.  It sucks to make these decisions, but it comes with wearing grown-up pants.

Over the past few weeks, I've made a few of these choices and was decidedly comfortable with what they would mean for me at this time.  Then, out of nowhere through the generosity of some of the people I referenced in my intro sentence, some of those decisions I made, have been turned around...

I want to give thanks for this and for having those great people in my really means alot.  As we all know, things can't always be peachy, but when you receive some help from others it feels like maybe it can be that way!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Today was a whole new level of resistance training!  I was pushing hard to get 9 mph in the face of some strong fall gusts of wind.  Leaves were sticking to my arms and slapping me in the face, but it was still in the 60's which made it worth the trip outside, even if it was spent mostly riding sideways!

Over the course of the past week I went from communting by bicycle to work, to riding the trainer in my bedroom.  Yep...I had to set up the trainer (gag)!

I've picked a handful of running races to focus on over the next two months and have devised a few creative ways to commute places so that I can keep my motivation to ride outside as it gets steadly cooler.  Pretty much everyone I know is gearing up for the Iceman race in November, but I've decided to sit it out this year.  I'm sure on the weekend of November 5th I will be dissapointed with myself for not going, but I'm sure I'll get over it...

Tomorrow I will be joining my family for some horse back riding...hopefully my legs have kept some kind of memory on how to do that from when I was younger!  We'll see...!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

12 Hours of Addison Oaks

Jelly, water, ipod.  My reminder list for the race today.  Everything else was accounted for, including a fabulous 700 lumen light on loan from the great Cullen Watkins (Thank you Cullen).  I woke, I drank a pot of coffee, I got nervous.

As previously noted I haven't had a ton of mileage in the past few weeks, but I REALLY wanted to get this race in.  According to the series points, there have been quite a few ladies battling it out this summer and I was expecting a good turnout.  On the drive there, I couldn't decide how I felt about that...

My fabulous pit manager, Josh and I arrived, set up our tent and found our friend Chris (Patterson) from D2 Labs Racing.  Chris and I warmed up, Josh fiddled with our bikes.  At 9:50 we lined up at the start.  During the racers meeting they announced three ladies in my category, but I couldn't find them on the line.  And then, we were racing...

Josh Getting Big Mama Miss Berlin Ready!

Warming Up...And I Only Thought About Doing Pull-Ups On The Jungle Gym Once...I Swear...

Sunshine.  Chipmunks.  Bunnies.  Deer.  This race was practically a Disney movie, but I was far from feeling like a princess as I heaved in air during the first lap.  It was a little faster then I should have been moving, but I wanted to get distance between myself and the other ladies.

On lap three, my friend Joe (Fulscher) stopped by to lend me a little moral support.  This in itself helped get myself back together after lap one.  Then my parents showed up to cheer me on and I was flying!

When the six hour race came to a close.  Chris finished his last lap with me.  It almost didn't feel like we were in a race at that point, the conversation helped break up the constant need to worry about how far behind me second was (I really felt like at any moment she was going to pop up on the trail and overtake me).

Night came, lights went on and strangely I still felt good.  Really good.  I was still practicing the new technique Joe (Fulscher) taught me, called "attack" on the hills (why have I never thought of doing this!).  My night vision was the best it's ever been and the temperature was perfect! 

My original goal was to get fifteen laps in.  I ended up with sixteen and wrapped things up a half hour early since I was a lap up on second.  Bringing my total mileage to 116.  Happy.  So happy!

Without my great pit manager, my friends and my family, my mood could easily have gone south during the day.  I appreciate greatly the time they took to help me out and for all of their well wishes!

O-M-G, It's April From The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Friend Ben

"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." - Robert Frost

My first endurance mountain bike event was the Stony Creek 6 Hour (2010).   I was excited to try my hand at something that was different and a bit outside of the box from the races of my past.  It was during this event that I met my friend Ben Vanhoose.  I was alone on the two track, just shy of the stretch that would take me back to my pit when someone jumped on my wheel and started chatting with me.

I'm a consistent rider, but not a fast one.  Typically in this situation the other rider would call out to pass and then carry on.  But that's not Ben.  Ben hung with me for a bit and talked to me about the race and how my day was going.  There was talk about a donut race near his home (mmmm....donuts).  I warned him about the big, BIG hill that would be upon us shortly and we wished each other a good day on the trails.

Ben later went on to become the 2010 Michigan Endurance Cup Series winner for his age group.  That being said, mountain biking is actually just a hobby for him, his real cup of competition tea is endurance running.  This past summer Ben completed several 50 mile ultras (with two second place finishes, a third place and a first) in addition to completing his first 100 miler.  This makes him the first person I know personally to run 100 miles.

Ben is pretty down to earth and naturally competitive with himself, always pushing to achieve his goals.  When we were at Lumberjack this year, I almost drove him out of his skin with my laid back pit-stops.  After sorting out my food and fluids he made me get back on the trail, 5x faster then I normally would.

Within his family, Ben is not the only one to tie on some running shoes.  His sister (who is also his personal trainer), mother and father have all been participants in different races.  With everyone on the same page, you can imagine how supportive they are of Ben's efforts.
Ben and His Mom

Over the past week I've been asking people what the main thing they would want to know about a runner that competes in these types of races.  The common response, "How does he keep going?"  Answer.  "It's just a matter of keeping my head in check.  The races I do are long enough that whatever funk I am in could be gone in the blink of an eye and things will be good again.  So I have to keep moving until then."

After meeting Ben at Stony, I raced with him again at the Cannonsburg 8 hour.  His cat like reflexes saved me when I endoed over my handlebars.  Somehow he was able to grab my rear wheel as it arcd around, destined to slam into my head.  To this day, I still don't know how he managed to do that!

Where will you see Ben in the future?  The list is always changing, but you could catch a quick glance of him down the road at the Western States 100, Leadville 100 or the Transrockies.  There may even be a showing at the tour divide (I may join him at the divide, since I hear he's a pretty good hunter (bears!), plus that race involves a bicycle).

To follow Ben's progress you can keep up with blog posts at
I personally would recommend it, this guys going places!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good To Be...

With fall setting in I'm getting panicky about the long months of winter that lay ahead.  Since Lumberjack I've been shying away from my bicycle, poor Big Mama Miss Berlin, locked up in the house...

There was a need for a hiatus...some time to try something new and different...I wanted to WANT to ride my bike again instead of feeling like a had to...


It worked.  After not riding at all for the past few months, I successfully logged 20 hours in the saddle this past week and loved every minute of it (with exception to the two minutes an extremely rude lady gobbled up to spaz out on her horn (and honestly, I DID not do anything to require that kind of reaction)).

I now have a plan in my mind of what I want to do next year and am excited to continue laying the ground work to bring it to completion.  In the meantime, I'm going to avoid self righteous crazy people in cadillacs and work on building character as the fall and winter set in.

As a side note...big CONGRATS to Danielle Musto who is now the Womens U.S. Single Speed 24 Hour National Champ!  Completely awesome...!'s a little picture montage of my weekends adventures...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We Are...

I'm the first to admit that I prefer to practice things where people can't see me.  I don't like to get in trouble, I'm not a big fan of looking like a dufus and for the most part I'm just a very private person when it comes to certain parts of my life. 

Stoic, quiet, patient, shy....

Those are words I've been described as over the years and I'm proud to include those qualities in my personality.  My grandmother has always been a reserved person, she listens to conversations quietly before making a comment.  Take it in, think it over, then contribute your piece.

I used to start a lot of sentences with the words, "That's not appropriate..."

For years, my mom has been encouraging me to unleash the beast within.  Be a b*#@$! has come to my attention that there is a certain level of what's not appropriate that I am breaking free of as I continue down the rabbit hole into the world of crossfit.  There's not a lot of time to think when you're in the middle of gasping for air inbetween reps.  A grunt or a scream may break free from your lips without you even knowing it happened.

Determined, focused, atheletic...

Those are words my family has used to describe me in recent months and recently while at the Plymouth Crossfit Memorial Challenge someone I didn't know told me they thought I was a "Great Competitor".  That one comment made me feel a great amount of pride in myself and in my sport.  I feel very strongly that Crossfit is a sport made up of great competitors.  We have varying degrees of ability, but our hearts are for the sport.  We won't quit, we won't stop.  We finish an event and before we can catch our breath we scream at the competitors around us and urge them to finish to.

We are great competitors.

Friday, September 2, 2011

On The Eve Of A Great Weekend...

This weekend is going to pass faster then a hiccup...

With great honor I will be beating the crap out of myself while participating in the 31 Heroes WOD on Saturday.  This WOD has me both excited and nauseas at the same time.  Secretly, I'm hoping to keep a little skin on my ankles (Rope Climbs!!!) so that when Sunday rolls around I won't look like a ten year old tomboy in a dress.  It will also be a treat if I make it through the thrusters RX'd...!

Well that sounds nice doesn't it...?  But what exactly is the 31 Heroes WOD, says you?  Read more about this fabulous event at  The bones of the whole thing is that alot of people will be getting together to team up and honor 31 of America's bravest that fell on August 6th.  Simply fabulous.

Hiccup!  Hiccup!

In the wake of this WOD will be Sunday...and on Sunday I will have the privelege of being in attendance for the fabulous wedding of Jimmy and Krissy!  There will be dancing and glorious socialization with the fantastic Meske clan! 

Hiccup!  Hiccup!

And when Monday comes...there will be flat out recovery...hiccup...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Love These Balls!

Love these balls!  Found the recipe online and have to say they are handy for a recovery snack!

1/2-3/4 cup of almond butter
2 tablespoon of raw honey
2 tablespoon of cocoa nibs
2 tablespoon of shredded coconut
3/4 cup of protein powder ( natural, not sweetened)
1 teaspoon organic, alcohol free vanilla

Mix nut butter, protein powder, honey and vanilla.  Add remainder of ingredients, mix until smooth, then roll into 1 inch balls.  To help keep them from sticking together I also rolled the balls in a bit of loose shredded coconut. 

If there are any left after their creation (note the crumbs in above picture) store them in an air tight container in the fridge!

Sometimes You're In The Litter And Sometimes You're Not

My niece, clad in an eyelet white dress rolled around the patio on her shiny pink radio flyer trike.  The adults of the family gathered together to watch and chat, animals skittered about avoiding the wheels of the flyer.  Without much warning, she flipped herself and the flyer onto it's side and into a litter box.

We've all had those kind of days...dressed, ready to go out when you spill toothpaste or coffee on your shirt.  An afternoon when every phone call is someone screaming at you, kindly bringing another problem to your attention. 

A million different ways to feel like you've suddenly flipped into a litter box.

After this particular incident we gathered around my niece, brushed her off and straightened out her trike.  We laughed and told her it was okay.  A little bit of a fuss to bring it into perspective.  A moment passed and she smiled and laughed with us.

That's one of the things that I love about Crossfit and having a Crossfit Family.  When you're suddenly flipped into the litter, it only takes a little bit of fussing from your mates to put things back into perspective.  They pick you up, brush you off, get you laughing...

Then, the next day it's your turn to do the same.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Did You Have A Shake Today?

Head bent over a plate of delicious mixed greens, I have a five inch range of motion with my arms before they begin shaking hard enough that the greens free themselves from my plastic Staples fork.  Eating a salad takes long enough as it is with all of the chewing, with a forecast of showered greens I might be here until next season.

Fortunately I am a problem solver and have decided to give myself a three inch clearance to get this job done.  It's not pretty, but it's functional.  Who wants to see a lady with her face glued to a plate? Look no further, she's right here!

In the back of my mind I'm picturing the little tears in my muscles that are rebuilding with each bite.  Have some fiber biceps brachi, how about a little steak trapezius?  Mmmm...steak is good...

Don't forget the water, deltoids love water!

The things we do to our bodies everyday demand attention and care, you have to pay the toll, no freebies!  Each morning I get out of bed with a quick assessment of what hurts and play a little match game to figure out what I did the day before that led to that feeling.  Should it hurt, is there a problem?  Is there reason for concern?

And guess what...I love every morning I wake up with a little discomfort.  It's glorious, a glorious reminder that I wasn't sitting around the day before.  Most of the time it's discomfort related to a workout, but not all the time.  It could have been yard work or a home project, some type of investment in my world or my families world.  I pulled up a chair at the table of my life yesterday and it was good...

Maybe it wasn't shamrock, strawberry, vanilla or chocolate, but I had a shake today and it was exquisite!  If you haven't had a shake today, there's always time for one tomorrow!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WAM, WOD's and WSD!

I'm not sure exactly where the summer is going, but it's flying by faster then Tanguy on a trail.  That being said, July has become the perfect month for getting some rest and enjoying some good old fashioned fun.  I've been relaxing, WOD'g and biking...

This past week I had the opportunity to share the love of summer and cycling at the Ladies Trek Mountain bike Demo.  Full-suspension and hard-tailed eye candy came in all sizes for a very eager group of ladies looking to expand their rides and skill sets.

There were so many fabulous bikes in this trailer...

The support team!

Ladies learning to embrace the suck on the trail! 
This event was so popular that there's talk of another being had before the summer is over, if that should happen, I'll be getting the word out to those of you that I know are looking to expand their mountain bike prowess!

And just like that there's only fourteen days until the Wish A Mile ride will begin!  As many of you already know I'm riding as part of Team Alex (check out what Miss Alex wished for here:  It's been amazing to be involved in supporting this cause and I'm really looking forward to the upcoming event!

I'm still accepting donations, if you're interested in supporting this cause, please click here to donate:

Please also make note that I'm accepting well wishes and weather dances for blue skies in support of this event and all the participants...

Last but not least, don't forget to do something that sucks today!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WOD=Word of the Day

Thumper Footing [thuhmper foot-ing]:  The involuntary act of leg shaking.  To shake ones foot/leg severely after extreme exertion or during duress, such as when performing a workout.

Use it in a sentence:

"It seemed like her rope climbs were going well until she began thumper footing.  We didn't know if we should catch her or give her a carrot.  Then we remembered, carrots are for ugly people."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stick Out That Belly!

It was after lunch period in fourth grade, I was standing in line waiting to go back to class daydreaming about climbing tree's after school.  My older brother had recently embarked on an all encompassing effort to build the first of many Ewok forts in the woods behind our house.  I was determined to stake out one of the floors for my friends and I to use as we pleased.

Suddenly, I was snapped back to reality by one of my friends pointing at me, "Look at how your belly is sticking out!" was the beginning of the end of innocence regarding personal body image.  I was absolutely crushed.  It was one of my favorite sweatshirts, grey with different colored balloons on the front.  Apparently, after having a bit of lunch my kid belly was full and friends were noticing. 

I don't remember what excuse I made up to explain why my belly was sticking out, but I'm sure I shirked it off in some way.  From that day forward I learned to "suck it up".  That's what you do to look...good.  Suck in the belly and pull on your pants.  Suck in that belly and wiggle into a dress. let it out...

And achieved the first of hopefully many flat backed dead lifts.  I'm not sure exactly what made it click, but through several discussions JD walked me through a description that suddenly made sense.  "Stick that belly out!"  I didn't realize that I was intentionally sucking it in when I was lifting, but once I intentionally pushed it out...SCORE!

There are things that I've always wanted for my body (who hasn't day dreamed about six pack abs?), but what's even more important to me now is being able to use what I have to be healthy and happy.  I wish I could go back in time and visit little Zuul in the lunch line.  I would pat that belly and tell her not to worry...that one day, when she's grown up she won't be standing in line worrying about sucking in her belly.  She'll be outside, running, climbing and perhaps even squatting trees.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Twitch of the Lips

Before I became an endurance mountain biker I was a runner.  It was a sport I picked up after many years of walking for exercise.  I was in search of something that would be an adventure, something to get me out the door.  I was constantly looking for a "something" that would give me back a little bit more then just exercise.

I remember reading a quote in one of my running magazines that said, "Keep a smile on your face while you're running so others will think it's fun to."  When I was a child, my mom said I used to smile at everyone, all the time.  I suppose that's why the smile comes naturally when I'm having fun or when I'm in pain.

There have been several occasions in the past few weeks where I was in the middle of a workout and extremely uncomfortable.  I rolled through the usual internal banter about being an idiot for doing the workout in the first place and then I crested the hill where I could just about see the final rep.  I started smiling, it still hurt, but it also felt exceptionally fantastic to have won another battle with those demons that tell you to throw in the towel.

I'm not sure if it makes me less of a competitor to have a smile on my face, but to be fair, I think there's also a lot of other expressions that parade across my face when I'm in pain.  I think the smile stands out because it's the least grotesque. 

I've decided that when I don't want to smile anymore during a ride or a WOD, that's when I'm going to throw in the towel.  That's when the pain and/or the exercise just won't be worth the price of admission.  I like the crossfit quote, "Do something that sucks every day...", but I think I'll add to it and say, "Do something that sucks and makes you smile every day..."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Drum Roll Please For the MCCF Summer Open

The sock drawer said more socks for you you will take a rest day.  So here I sit completely happy to be sandwiched between Mickey and Danni on the couch, updating the blog and sipping a cafe mocha from my Keurig magic machine.

Over the weekend I participated in the Motor City Crossfit Summer Open, a most wonderful event hosted by my box.  There were five WOD's scheduled for all competitors and a sixth for the glorious few that qualified.  EXCITE, EXCITE, EXCITE...that's what led me into the weekend...what could be better then having an event on your home turf?

Coming home from Lumberjack last weekend I was a little on the tired side.  I should have expected that to be the case after how grueling that race was for me, but sometimes my reality isn't really reality.  That being said, I put myself on an early bedtime to help the body along with recovery and toned down my workouts through the course of the week.  Each evening I coated my hands in bag balm and slept with them in socks...if nothing else...I was determined not to tear...

Saturday morning I was up and moving before the alarm.  EXCITE, EXCITE, EXCITE (remember?)!  And was night and I was back on the couch...groaning and whimpering intermittently.  The day without a doubt had flown by...

One minute I was shamefully trotting through the second lap of the 4k run...afraid to look at Gunny and Mummy on the street corners because I was sucking so bad...

And then I was clinging to the handle of a 53# kettlebell...praying to the pood gods that I wasn't going to drop it on my head in front of my judge the WOD killa himself Bradley Berlin.

Stepping up to the bar for WOD 4 I was feeling a mixture of things...and as the clock started ticking and I started working through reps, I remembered to yell at myself (internally of course) to just suck it up and get the work done.  I chose to be here, to put myself in this position and noone else was getting me out of it or completing the reps for me.  So what if my legs were tired...they could rest tomorrow...and if I started jumping the bar up like I was supposed to my legs wouldn't be so tired...would they?

And then...

There were tires!!!  I cannot explain why I think flipping tires is so much fun, but I have been wanting to flip a tire ever since I started Crossfitting and this was my first opportunity to do so!  You can almost see the smile of delight on my face here...

After the tire workout the final six athlete's were posted for WOD six.  I sat just out of the money in spot seven and immediately felt relief that I wouldn't have to participate in another workout.  This feeling was short lived, as the next feeling was disappointment that I wasn't participating in another WOD that day...can you say rollercoaster!!?  Once I slapped myself around a bit and regained my grip on reality I went to chat with my parents (aren't they awesome for coming to watch?) and congratulated The Karhoff, Donna and Stema for making it to the finals.

Of course, this workout did not disappoint from a spectator point of view.  It was a taxing monster compiled of rope climbs and front squats.  Just enough of both to blow out your arms and legs.  Now, if you weren't present to witness this workout, words will not put into perspective the determination embraced by these athletes.  One athlete learned the technique of rope climbing just five minutes before starting the workout, another learned the importance of using legs, legs, legs and of course the importance of proper taping!

Through tears, exhaustion and appendages that just don't want to work anymore they fought to complete each rep and each round.  Some walked away pleased, some walked away knowing what they would need to work on come Monday.  Those that watched stood and applauded...!

JD, Vinny, Matt, Hippie, Jo and all those other hands that put this event together...gigantic fist bump for being so awesome!  And another special thank you to Danielle Zelasko Krozek for taking such bad ass photo's!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Let's travel back in time to the weekend of June 10th...a time when I was still in my twenties...a time of glory shrouded in a cloud of awesome!

The Motor City Crossfit team traveled down to Columbus for the Crossfit Regionals from the 10th-12th of June.  Being a crossfit hatchling I wasn't exactly sure what to expect for the weekend, I knew there would be WOD's and athlete's galor...what I didn't realize was that this weekend would be like going to camp!

There was bacon in the air every morning, delicious paleo dinners every evening and a healthy dosage of adrenaline and inspiration each afternoon.  Our team was able to advance our placement from the open from 28th to 14th in addition to creating a few memories that we won't soon forget!

I want to thank my boxmates for making my 30th birthday a memorable meant alot to me to have such wonderful people around me on such a big day!

Full Race Results

To view the complete Lumberjack race results check out this link here:

Why Can't I Just Play Ping Pong?

Why can't I just play ping-pong?  Why am I breathing like darth-vader?  Toes ache, back hurts, eyes burn...and I'm not even going fast...

Thirty five miles in to my first Lumberjack and I yacked.  Wasn't expecting this development, but after the first loop my body just couldn't get settled.  Might have been the elevation or the humidity, but as soon as I cleared that debris I felt like gold.  The remaining miles back to the pit went by rather quickly.  I even felt spunky enough to catch and pass a few of the ladies that had passed me on the first lap.  It almost seemed like my inner Zuul had come out to finish the race...

Then I entered the third and final loop...four miles in and I started feeling like shriveling up into a whimpering pile of Zuul.  Poor me...poor little Zuul out on the trail on a beautiful sunny day in northern Michigan...hating her choice of sport. 

Keep the bike moving dumb ass...don't give in to your demons...enter the pain cave (maybe sit down in that cave and build a little fire), turn the cranks...

I'm not going to deny that I may have been whimpering when I hit seventy-five miles, that at eighty I saw a beaver that was really a log on the trail, at ninety when I usually feel like I've hit the home stretch I wanted to spit up again.  With four miles left to go another rider came up behind me and we commiserated about our pain and agony.  That little bit of company helped me pull us in to the finish.

As soon as I was finished and as the fabulous D2 team helped me put my belongings away, I immediately started feeling the glow that follows finishing something that was unbelievably hard (that's what she said) and once again I was reassured about why I love my sport!

I want to thank Danielle Musto for allowing me to pit under her tent, to Josh for looking my bike over and to Eric, Chris, Rachel and Ben for helping me with the various aspects of this race!  And of course, thanks to all of you who sent good vibes my way!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sprinting to Save My Socks

I train.  I train for several reasons...I enjoy riding my bike, I want to be healthy, because I feel passion for my sport.  This year I also begain training because it makes me better at life.  Today that training paid off and also saved my socks.

During that brief time period when we didn't have rain today I set out to ride from Shelby Twp to Columbus.  Most of this route was on the Macomb Orchard trail and even though it wasn't sunny, the temperature was mild and I found myself easily turning the cranks and enjoying the mileage.

At my turnaround point, somewhere in Richmond I was startled out of my cycledreaming by a fast moving object on my right.  Seventy pounds of snarling canine fury was coming in hot, fixated on me.  I pictured myself being pummeled by this beast and quickly decided to put down the hammer...and was just going...

He gave chase, he was determined...but I really love my legs, my bike and my socks... 

Legs were burning, swear words were streaming...

I glanced under my arm...eyes were on me...too close for comfort.  I dug deep, laid it all out...

I looked back...he was faltering...

I pushed on...

I really, really love my socks...

Back on the trail, minutes passed and finally I slowed down.  I decided at that point that it's nice to train for really comes in handy...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Revelations of A Stony 12 Hour

Revelations of A Stony 12 Hour

1.)  Always check your bag before you leave the house to make sure you're taking the essentials...

2.)  Don't underestimate the joy a pair of cool socks will bring to those on the trail!

2.)  A fantastic pit manager is a non-negotiable item and essential to keeping you on your bike...even if you beg and plead to be let will always thank them later!

3.)  Never let your hydrapak out of your sight...or you will roll away without it...

5.)  Completing what you set out to do will always make you smile...